tv White House Chronicles WHUT June 27, 2010 10:30am-11:00am EDT
nationally syndicated columnist llewellyn king and co-host with the gasparello. -- linda gasparello. ♪ >> i'm joined now by one of the big forces in the utility industry, michael morris american electric power. it is one of the big three utilities in this country. and interestingly, one of the biggest who uses coal with optimistic ideas about the future. michael, welcome. you have all of that cold, how many tons do you have? -- all of that coal. how many tons do you have?
>> there is a bit across the system. our company was founded on the theory that you generated electricity where the fuel is and delivered it to your customers by wire rather than hauling the fuel and doing the reverse. that is why we had the magnitude of the 750,000 volts in the system. >> there are those that believe that carbon sequestration is the future and others that believe it is the white elephant. are you in favor of it? >> we are, indeed. i do not think that there is any question that capturing carbon is essential. >> explain the technology.
>> what we are doing at mountaineer station, it is the only one in the world that is working on carbon capturing. on the capture side it is taking the gas and capturing the carbon by introducing distilled ammonia. it is an essential and simple process that is working very well. with:-based -- with coal based in particular who works very well.
i know 5,000 feet underground is not exactly [unintelligible] dr. hugh from the department of energy has become our strongest ally. and dr. hugh's story is that in fact becomes a solid in the awkward for. -- opt or foaquifer. but it is still in a bicarbonate form. i grew up in the natural gas area and for the first of years of my career we have been restoring it all over the world. i have never been burdened with
the notion of what we're going to do. i think we will capture it of to 90% and store it all underground. i think that this activity is essential for coal. because coal is going to be burned for a while, no question about that. >> do you see other countries being able to afford this kind of technology? >> most likely not. >> what is the penalty and the cost in loss of production? >> we started off with a fear that it would be 25%. it looked more like 25 to 30%.
it is down to about 815% impact. i think that is very manageable -- it is down manageable -- a 15% -- it is down to a about a 15% impact. i think that is very manageable. >> what are the legal issues? >> in operation, there is no question about it. and we are responsible for it and any malfeasance in performance would be the responsibility of our shareholders, not our customers. once you go to a power and to the, we really do believe that the federal government or the
state government ought to be responsible for that. >> we have other ways of using coal, one of which is to turn it into a gas. and we use clean coal. are those out of the picture now? >> and no, jim rogers and other public utility groups are building a plant that a 640 megawatts. that is an essential step
forward. you are going to retrofit the system. and the capital to go forward is just logical in some industries. we have seen a revolution. >> the copper wire is dying as it is transmitting, but what have we seen in energy? we have not seen that kind of quantum change, have we? >> it would be unfair to say
that we have not improved the process. the efficiency of today's plants are hugely different than yesterday's. we have biomass, and coal to make electricity. it is an extremely efficient conversion undertaking. to your question about a revolution, we're beginning to work seriously on other generation. although, i'm not sure that many of our customers will be willing to jump from the grid. >> that is a big responsibility. >> mcdonald's was working on reciprocating gas.
they're not going to have those kids running around with branches and screwdrivers. >> i think that peter brecker, a very wise gentleman, has said over the years, you've got to stay with what you know. every time america has gone a little far downfield you get to where you should not be. >> i might argue that point with you. i love peter rucker, but we have seen sometimes in american industry -- for example, airlines that can often be playing a very dangerous game. >> but if you do it with some focus, you will more than likely
be successful. if you look today at many of our industrial, particularly in places like hospitals, you have backup generation. >> when you -- where do you see industrial america in the years ahead? >> i worry a great deal about that. i worry a great deal about the political team that has come up with a global warming answer that does not address the nature of the talent. the manufacturing base inein ths state will have another cross, a justifiable and byron mental cost -- environmental costs. but if you take into consideration the major industries that are massive players, then you have a problem.
fortunately in the senate, democrats and republicans are working with construction and electrical workers. they're working on organizational compliance. that is an important part. i worry about the sustainability of manufacturing in the country. the crack in the long run, is the real price of electricity going up -- >> in the long run, is the real price of electricity going up or going down? >> probably today, the average cost for generation of our system is fairly low. maybe 15 cents for delivery to the customer. >> can you make a business out of distr generation?
>> i will make a business out of it. like so many other things as you start out, it will be small in comparison to the magnitude of other things we do. rather than ask you to go out and buy a $3,000 engine to supply your home with energy, we will install it. >> michael morris, thank you for coming on. tom kuhn is the president of edison the electric institute and we are at his annual meeting in florida. it is nice to be with you at this conference because the electricity affects everyone in all ways. it affects where we live, how we
live, our quality of life and very often, the prosperity and well-being of a nation. and what are the lessons we are learning here today? ori>> we're having a pretty good time out here today. as you said, everything is moving more toward transportation even though a mass transportation and electric grid is coming up in two plays later on this year, people are watching the oil spill out there in the gulf and are thinking about how we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and sending our money to foreign countries that may not be our friends. and how can we reduce these things that change people's lives? but it does change people's lives. in africa -- >> it does change people's lives. in africa, it is considered a luxury.
electric companies are allowed for some reason [unintelligible] >> we know of electricity is going up more every year. i think people understand the great benefit offered. the challenge we have had is building infrastructure. not only to meet demand, but to meet the environmental requirements we have as well. >> what do you have in store? >> we have comprehensive climate bill and we want to see dividends extension tax credits.
>> would you boil that down to say that what you really want from the government is certainty? >> we definitely want that. it has to pass the test of time. we are very much looking for certainty. >> how committed to alternative energy is the industry, really? there are those that say it is only cosmetically interested. at >> i think the renewable -- last year we had a big boom in renewable technology. i think the industry is extremely committed. but you cannot oleson -- all of a sudden turn from 2% to 10% renewable. it takes time to grow about. >> how fast is it coming?
>> i think my children and grandchildren will definitely be driving. when you think in the past, you think that air conditioning came fast, the internet kaine fast, but they did not. the group -- the internet came fast, but they did not. they grew over time. you put the players in the marketplace and the infrastructure and renewables. and these cars are very exciting. they go 0260 in under five seconds. they have a lot of tort -- they go 0 to 60 in under five seconds. they have a lot of torque.
>> if everybody plugs in an electric car at 5:00 p.m., then everybody has turned on the oven and the television, there will be a drain on the grid. how will you deal with it? >> i disagree with you. there will be smart grid technology. you can plug your car in at 5:00 p.m., but it may not start recharging until midnight. it will charge when you are asleep and be ready to go in the morning. this industry is committed to meeting the challenges that are there. >> thanks for being with us. marc goldsmith is president of marc goldsmith and associates, a
boston company that specializes in energy issues. i understand that you now believe the diffusive energy sources and the big ones can come together. the little ones getting a little bit bigger and the big ones getting a bit smaller. is that your thesis? >> my thesis is that we are in texas where large generation is getting to -- we are a nexus where large generation is getting too expensive and alternative energy like wind and solar are getting cheaper, and at the same time getting more expensive. i think we will start to see a meeting in the middle where smaller will be more beautiful. rates are not going to go down. people will still be consuming
electricity. i think we could potentially see smaller nodular nuclear pathways. the problem is that you have to have the same size security force for a large one that you have for a small one. that is part of the problem. >> the generation isn' a large amount of power. >> but it is still significantly smaller than others. >> in the 1940's and the 1950's it was an exciting time to be in the energy industry. are we going to make all of those mistakes again? >> probably. we do not seem to have learned
from them. back in 1984, i wrote a paper about the uses of alternative energy. we are still in that time. we did not think it was at the -- it is not as carbon from the as we thought it was -- carbon friendly as we thought it was. >> alternative energies, which are basically solar, wind, biomass -- which one do you favor? >> i still think we are in and -- in a nuclear world and not an alternative world. we will always be stuck with a certain nature of energy.
wind can account for about 33%. and that may not -- >> and there are times of the day when you can only use one-third of the energy. >> and that may not be when you need it most. >> what has been the great breakthrough on that we have seen in telephony, for instance? will we ever see that in electricity? >> i think there is more to these margaret than people think. >> it is also -- in the smart
grade than people think. >> it is also a bit of a catch phrase, isn't it? >> that is true, but we want to have two-way communication with the customer. for example, if i can get enough scale and enough customers participating, i can basically reduce the reserve by having the customer provide that a 10- minute reserve rather than the power plant. >> it seems difficult to explain to the public what the power reserve it is. if you think about it, it is difficult to consider something up to speed without it actually working. >> if the plant perimeter these trucks -- shut down or lightning strikes the transmission -- if the plant prematurely shut down or lightning strikes the transmission, then you want to be able to still turn on the
light switch. >> has anything great come out of all of the mining? >> i think there are a lot of small pieces that make it great. and elements of new battery storage. for instance, there are ways to charge a battery faster. new batteries with more capability per wait, kind of like scaling up a cellphone battery to a larger space. >> [unintelligible] because they make the turbines very efficient and some parts come from china and others come from bolivia and russia. >> you make a great point. back in '84 we made the statement that there is no free
lunch with alternative energy. there are other components that make it less renewable than we thought. i think we will find substitutes over time, but the limited nature of those two resources, nairobi in one and the chinese with the lithium ion battery, we will have some problems. >> but we've got to keep the lights on one way or another. >> the beauty of moving that direction today is that we have to keep the capacity moving forward. we have a great generation of young engineers coming forward today. " i'm linda gasparello, co-host of -- >> i'm linda gasparello,
co-host of "white house chronicle" and i am here at the conference. while walking around i found my grunow of solyndra inc.. -- mike grunow of solyndra inc. tell us about your company. >> we manufacture cylindrical elements that are uniquely engineered for large commercial industrial rooftops. our systems are able to utilize the entire area of the roof. we go in flat, where as conventional panels go in faced. and we only put about 300 ounces restrictive load on the rooftop and that is significantly lower than the conventional panels. but president obama recently
paid you a visit. -- >> president obama recently paid you a visit. tell us about that. >> it was quite an honor. it was for a loan granted that we were honored with. >> how much was that? >> it was just about $500,000 in a loan guarantee to do manufacturing in the next two years. the cueva is coming in and we are excited about the -- the equipment is coming in and we are excited about the jobs that will be created as a result. >> that is our show for today. even as we feel so badly for the people on the west coast of florida and the zero other states affected in the big oil spill, i must say it is the water on the intracoastal waterway that i am speaking to you from. have a great week.